Four more children died Friday in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district reeling under an outbreak of brain fever, taking the toll to 57 this month, state Health Minister Mangal Pandey said. All the victims have fallen prey to hypoglycemia, a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance, officials said. The 57 children died in two state-run hospitals of Muzaffarpur, one of which was visited by the health minister during the day.
Pandey said 47 children have lost their lives in the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) while the 10 others died in the Kejriwal Hospital. According to a release issued by the district administration, two children each died in the SKMCH and the Kejriwal Hospital Friday. Since June one, 156 and 66 children were admitted in the SKMCH and the Kejriwal Hospital respectively with suspected cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) but most of them were found to be victims of hypoglycemia. The condition of five children undergoing treatment in each of the hospitals is stated to be critical, the release said.
The health minister who held a meeting with doctors and officials said six more ambulances will be available at the SKMCH from Friday and a 100-bed new ward will be made operational there soon. The Kejriwal Hospital's management also agreed to increase the number of beds if the need arises, he said. Pandey said creating awareness among the people is needed to prevent the outbreak of the disease. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already directed the officials concerned to ensure that preventive measures were taken in the affected districts, though deaths have so far been reported from Muzaffarpur only. Health Department's Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar had earlier said the disease has affected 222 blocks of 12 districts especially Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran. A central government team of experts had visited Muzaffarpur on Wednesday.
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